1.Aye-aye: World’s Weirdest Little Primate
Why in News?
- North Carolina State University has revealed a new secret about a strange little primate- Aye-Aye: a ‘pseudo-thumb’ to do what its fingers can’t.
- Called the aye-aye, it is a primate that is unlike most other primates.
- A type of omnivorous and nocturnal lemur, the aye-aye has a tail longer than its body, incisors that are constantly growing, a third eyelid that moistens the eye and protects it from debris when the aye-aye gnaws on wood, females that produce ova throughout their lifetime — and strange hands.
- The aye-aye has highly specialised fingers, including elongated middle fingers, with which they locate and fish out insect larvae.
- In these already strange hands, researchers have now discovered a sixth digit — a “pseudo-thumb”. Among other mammals, the giant panda has a similar sixth digit.
- In the aye-aye, researchers believe that the pseudo-thumb might have developed to compensate for the highly specialised fingers, helping it grip better since the pseudo-thumbs are able to move in space and exert an amount of force equivalent to half its body weight.
- The pseudo-thumb has a bone, a cartilaginous extension and three distinct muscles that give it movement in three directions.
2.Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)
Why in News?
- The Supreme Court Thursday upheld the Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), a contentious point among India’s telecom players and the source of a running battle between the government and industry for years.
What is AGR?
- Telecom operators are required to pay licence fee and spectrum charges in the form of ‘revenue share’ to the Centre.
- The revenue amount used to calculate this revenue share is termed as the AGR. According to the DoT, the calculations should incorporate all revenues earned by a telecom company – including from non-telecom sources such as deposit interests and sale of assets.
- The companies, however, have been of the view that AGR should comprise the revenues generated from telecom services only and non-telecom revenues should be kept out of it.
Why in News?
- In a new study, researchers have found that because of climate change, extreme El Nino events are likely to become more frequent.
What is El Nino?
- El Niño is a climate phenomenon that takes place over the equatorial Pacific. It is one phase of an alternating cycle known as El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
- When there is a warming of the sea surface temperature in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean, it is known as El Niño.
- When the opposite cooling phase takes place, it is known as La Niña.
- ENSO can cause extreme weather events in many regions of the world, and therefore has very important implications for seasonal climate predictions, including the monsoon in India.
- While El Nino causes warmer temperatures over the equatorial Pacific, these are known to suppress monsoon rainfall. When La Niña happens, it has been found to be helpful in bringing good rainfall.
4.World Polio Day
- World Polio Day is celebrated on 24 October annually to raise awareness about the polio disease and efforts for eradication.
- Rotary International established the World Polio Day over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
- The use of inactivated vaccine of poliovirus and subsequent widespread use of the oral poliovirus which was developed by Albert Sabin led to the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in 1988.
- According to WHO, by 2013, GPEI had reduced polio worldwide by 99%. Polio is a fatal infectious disease.There is no cure, but due to safe and effective vaccines, it can be prevented. That is through immunisation it can be prevented.
- For eradication of polio, the strategy was to provide immunisation to almost every child until transmission stops and to make world polio-free.
Facts about Polio:
- Polio is caused by poliovirus and most of the time polio infections present no symptoms.
- Women who are pregnant are more susceptible to polio.
- Polio can spread easily from person to person.
- Nigeria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are the only three countries in which polio is still prevalent.
- Non-paralytic polio is known as abortive poliomyelitis which leads to flu-like symptoms and these symptoms last for a few days or weeks.
- In Paralytic polio, the virus enters motor neurons where it replicates and destroys the cells. These cells are present in the spinal cord, brain stem, or motor cortex. These areas of brain are important in controlling movements.
- Paralytic polio is classified as Spinal polio, Bulbar polio, and Bulbospinal polio.
- There are two vaccines for polio namely, Inactivated poliovirus (IPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV).
Why in News?
- SC has said that the telecom operators have not fulfilled their obligations under USOF.
- Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was formed by the Central Government to help fund projects to boost connectivity in rural areas.
- It was envisaged in National Telecom Policy, 1999 and was given statutory status through Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003.
- Its aim is to provide non-discriminatory access to quality ICT services at affordable prices to people in rural and remote areas through subsidy support to incentivizing telecom service providers to venture forth and provide services to such target beneficiaries.
- The resources are raised through a ‘Universal Access Levy (UAL)’, which would be a percentage of the revenue earned by the telecom operators under various licenses.
Why in News?
- India and Pakistan have signed an agreement to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor paving way for Indian Sikh pilgrims to pay visit the holy Darbar Sahib shrine in Pakistan.
- It is a road link that will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab to Kartarpur Sahib.
- Gurudwara is on the banks of Ravi River, in Pakistan Punjab.
- The corridor will intend to allow religious devotees from India to visit Gurudwara in Kartarpur, without a visa.However, visitors have to carry their passports with them.
- All pilgrims who propose to visit Sri Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal district of Pakistan will have to register online in advance and the applicant is required to register himself/herself in advance of proposed date of travel.
- However, registration does not confer a right to travel. Pilgrims will be informed by SMS and email of the confirmation of registration 3 to 4 days in advance of the date of travel.